Families with disabled children will be “disproportionately affected” by changes to housing benefits due to be implemented in October 2011, according to a leading children’s charity.
In its submission to the Department for Work and Pensions Committee enquiry into the impact of housing benefits changes, the charity Contact a Family called for families with disabled children to be exempt from the local housing allowance rule, which states any two children of any sex under age 10 or children of the same sex under 16 should always share a room.
The submission also said the Local Housing Allowance extra room allowance for a non-family carer should be applicable to disabled children as well as disabled adults and that families whose disabled children receive a Disability Living Allowance on any rate should be exempt from loss of housing benefit if they have been on job seeker’s allowance for over a year.
“Families with disabled children are more likely to be in rented accomodation, more likely to be on low incomes, less likely to be able to consider moving tenancy and may already be subsidising a shortfall in housing benefit,” said Srabani Sen, chief executive of Contact a Family.
“In this economic climate we understand the need for government to look at the benefits bill, but they must ensure that the system is working to protect the most vulnerable in society.”
Higher levels of need within households with disabled children often included the need for more bedrooms, as sharing with siblings can be impossible due to carers, noisy equipment or challenging behaviour, the charity said.
More support for parents of disabled children urged